PSR Denounces Vote on Proposition 8

November 6, 2008

As of this release, a small majority of California voters have voted to pass a constitutional amendment removing the right of same-sex couples to marry in the state. Although legal challenges are forthcoming, the following statement from Pacific School of Religion condemns this controversial and divisive vote.

BERKELEY, CA – Pacific School of Religion (PSR) denounces the vote for Proposition 8, which denies the full equality of same-sex couples under the law and writes discrimination into the California state constitution.

“We are deeply saddened by the blow to equality and human dignity this vote represents,” said Bill McKinney, president of PSR. “Whatever the final legal outcome, approximately half of California voters have judged their neighbors’ marriages to be invalid, a troubling development for the institution of marriage and the fabric of the family.”

Mary A. Tolbert, executive director of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at PSR said, “This is a sad day for people of all faiths as well as for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens of California. Fear tactics and bigotry have won out over the Christian admonition to ‘love your neighbor.’”

Leaders at PSR acknowledged that legal challenges to the vote will continue, as well as attempts to nullify the 18,000 marriages that took place after the Supreme Court’s decision in June.

Tolbert said, “Such an attack on couples that have declared their love and dedication to each other cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged. The battle over equal marriage rights in California is far from over.”

McKinney added, “Dr. King reminded us that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. A small majority of voters in California may have given in to fear and prejudice, but justice will have the final word.”

PSR encourages all faith communities to continue to work to affirm the civil rights of all people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals.

“There’s a critical difference between marriage as a civil contract and marriage as a religious covenant,” Tolbert said. “Every faith community, regardless of stance on religious recognition of same-sex relationships, has a stake in securing equal access to the benefits of this civil contract. California should not tolerate second-class status for any of its citizens. Neither should people of faith.”

“Ultimately, it’s a question of equal rights, not religion,” McKinney said.